Assassination of Trade Unionist in Barrancabermeja


The Barrancabermeja Committee of the Colombian Trade Union Federation (CUT) rejects the vile assassination of one of our comrades JORGE GUILLEN LEAL, 33 years old, that took place on 23 July at 2.30 pm in the barrio Covida in the municipality of Barrancabemeja. The murder was carried out by two individuals who arrived at his house in a taxi and then shot him. His wife was at home at the time with one of his two children who was doing his school homework. Jorge was the father of two young children, a girl and a boy of 10 and 5 years old.

Jorge had worked at the Colombian Fertilizer Company for the last 10 years and was a member of the trade union SINTRAINQUIGAS, where he was a member of the management committee until 2005.

Trade unionists, human rights defenders and peace activists make an urgent call to the Nacional and local government that they stop the regime of murders, threats and forced displacement that has been unleashed against the civilian population.

We know that it is the paramilitary groups who are responsible for these crimes, despite the fact that the government continues to talk of “demobilisation”. The structures of the paramilitary groups remain intact and since the supposed demobilisation of the Central Bolivar Block of the paramilitary AUC, these crimes have actually increased. These crimes are aggravated by the fact that the authorities announce daily through the press, that absolutely nothing is happening in Barrancabermeja.


We Demand:

That the National Government respect the lives of trade unionists in Colombia and carry out a genuine dismantling of the structures of ultra right wing paramilitary groups. We demand a full investigation into the murder of our comrade and punishment for those responsible.
We Ask:

That the International Community send messages of protest to the Colombian Government, holding them responsible for the systematic persecution of the Colombian trade union movement and attempts to finish it off once and for all. Please demand full guarantees for our activity in line with International norms.
That national organisations pronounce to the national and local government, their rejection of the blood bath that is occurring in our municipality, as well as the immediate capture of those responsible for the murder of our comrade and for the humanitarian crisis that has gripped this oil town.

Pleases end messages of protest to the following (sample letter below):

Dr. Álvaro UribeVélez
Presidente de la Republica
Fax: 57 1 566 2071

Dr. Francisco Santos.
Vicepresidente de Colombia

Dr. Carlos Franco
Director del Programa de Derechos Humanos de Vicepresidencia
E-mail: ,

Dr. Edgardo Jose Maya Villazón
Procurador General de la Nacion.
E-mail: ,

Dr. Volmar Antonio Perez Ortiz
Defensor del Pueblo
E-mail: ,
Fax: 57 1 6400491

Dr. Michael Frühling
Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los derechos humanos.
Fax: 57 1 6293637


Sample letter

Dear Sirs

I am writing once again to demand that the Colombian government do all in its powers to stop the persecution of the social movement in Barrancabermeja and the Magdalena del Medio region. Despite your talk of a ceasefire and demobilisations, paramilitary groups in the area remain intact and continue their targeting of trade unions and social organisations. I demand an immediate and full investigation into their continued activity, and into the vile murder of trade unionist Jorge Guillen Leal who was killed in Barrancabermeja on 23 July 2006, the latest in a string of attacks against social movement activists. I look forward to a Government pronouncement on these events and the humanitarian crisis in Barrancabermeja.





August 2006

> > home page > >